There were boos from some parts of the crowd at half-time on Tuesday evening as Graham Potter’s lacklustre Swans headed back to the dressing room with their tails between their legs after a dreadful performance but an unbelievable turnaround saw us lead 2-1 just 20 minutes after the restart thanks to an own-goal and Connor Roberts’ goal in an epic four-minute spell.
It really couldn’t have got much worse after the break as the Swans really did look lost, particularly in midfield and you just knew that Potter would be receiving plenty of criticism again for not setting his team up right after making another five changes from the side that narrowly lost 1-0 at Aston Villa on Saturday.
Despite our poor first-half display, Blackburn didn’t really create anything decent on goal – apart from their converted spot-kick of course. It was a clumsy challenge from Kyle Naughton just inside our box and it was one of the easiest penalty decisions that the referee will make in his career. The spot-kick was converted, sending Nordfeldt the wrong way and from here you wondered how on earth we were going to get back into it as nothing was linking up efficiently in Blackburn’s half.
To begin with, Olsson started at left back with Grimes in front of him before they later switched. Celina was played on the left in front of a Grimes in a 4-3-3 but with James also splitting wide on the other side, this left McBurnie isolated through the middle so Potter had plenty to think about as the first-half went on.
Potter has received criticism for his constant changes and he made plenty of them again today – with only half of his outfield team keeping their places from Aston Villa. I’m sure he’ll hold his hands up and admit that it just didn’t work in the first 45 minutes but he deserves credit for fixing things in the second. The ability to do that is great to see from a football coach and how he suddenly managed to get Dan James on the ball and threatening down the left wing was inspirational.
Olsson and Carroll were withdrawn at halftime in favour of the central midfield duo of Leroy Fer and Jay Fulton – two players that didn’t come away from Villa Park with much praise at all but they faired better this evening – Fulton in particular. He was finally the player who was willing to have a strike at goal and his confidence to do so was rewarded with a goal after 64 minutes as the ball flew towards the target from outside the box, hit the woodwork before going in off the goalkeeper.
Just four minutes later, the turnaround was complete. By this point, the Swans were in control and it was thanks to Connor Roberts playing in a more attacking, central role as Potter identified the need to get someone in that hole to help support McBurnie. Celina too moved inside and it was a move that many for us were hoping for during the break. Fulton was better spraying passes into better areas compared to the likes of Carroll and Grimes while Leroy Fer mainly sat deeper and aimed to win balls and end Blackburn’s attacks. He wasn’t always successful but he did make a few crucial tackles here and there.
We were seeing some excellent attacking football in the second half and after the first-half performance, you wondered where on earth it came from. There was some superb link-up play through the middle of the park and the goals we scored, particularly the second and third were superb team goals. Dan James setup Connor Roberts for his second goal of the season and Celina guaranteed the three points with five minutes to play as he dinked the ball over on the oncoming goalkeeper.
Blackburn were left shocked by Swansea’s comeback as we looked pretty much dead and buried at the break. They were more than comfortable without making many clear-cut chances. Similar to our early attacking tactics this season, Blackburn constantly looked to counter by spraying quick balls forward to the wide areas but we were able to recover and get bodies behind the ball to allow for clear shooting opportunities.
It also must be said too that Nordfeldt made a superb low save to keep the scores at 2-1, and from that save, he started the move that ended in Celina making it 3-1.
Tonight’s game felt like it was Graham Potter and his team proving a point to his critics. We haven’t been able to score in recent weeks and a lot of the blame – especially in the last 2 games has gone Potter’s way for his constant tinkering, but he showed tonight that he can make effective changes to completely turn a game. Let’s just hope we can start to get things right sooner because when we do click we do look like a quality side.